OWEN FARRELL’s red card in England’s World Cup warm-up match against Wales on Saturday was overturned by an independent judicial panel which met via video link earlier today. [Tuesday].
The stand-off was sent off for a high tackle on Taine Basham and appeared before the panel to answer the charge of committing an act of foul play contrary to Law 9.13, which states that a player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, an opponent’s tackle or attempted tackle above the shoulder line, even if the tackle begins below the shoulder line.
The player admitted that although he committed an act of foul play, he denied that the act was worthy of a red card. After reviewing all the evidence, interviewing the player in detail and hearing submissions from the player’s representative, the panel (composed of Adam Casselden SC as chairman, John Langford and David Croft, all of whom are Australians) concluded that the Foul Play Review Officer was wrong. , on a balance of probabilities, to upgrade the yellow card issued to the player to a red card.
“The Committee determined, when applying the process of contact with the head of World Rugby, that the mitigation should be applied to the high degree of danger found by the foul play review officer,” said a press release issued by Six Nations Rugby. “The Committee found that a late change in dynamics due to the interaction of England #2 in the contact area caused a sudden and significant change in direction of the ball carrier. In the opinion of the Committee, this mitigation was sufficient to bring the player’s act of foul play below the red car threshold.
“Based on this, the Committee did not uphold the red card and the player is free to play again immediately.”
🧐 I struggle to see the ‘sudden and significant change in direction’ in Basham’s postponement from George’s actions that would really cause Owen Farrell to make a dangerous tackle here
He launches from the start and makes a bad tackle despite everything.
A precedent has been set. pic.twitter.com/bBhCTJfEwT
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) August 15, 2023
While rejecting the findings of the Foul Play Review Officer, the Disciplinary Committee insisted that he was not explicitly or implicitly criticizing this decision or the person who made it.
“The Committee believes it is important to note that no criticism is leveled at the foul play review officer and none would be warranted,” the statement read. “Unlike the foul play review officer, the committee has had the luxury of deliberating and reviewing, in private, the incident and the proper application of the primary contact process. The committee believes this contrasts with the Foul Play Review Officer, who had to make his decision in a few minutes without benefiting from all the additional elements, including the hearing of the player and his legal representative.
It’s hard to see how this final statement doesn’t undermine the credibility and value of Foul Play Review Officers in general, who were introduced for this summer series to help referees decide whether a red or yellow card is deserved. in situations like this.
Under this new process, referees remain the primary decision maker during matches, but they have the option to refer any incidents of foul play where a red card is not clear and obvious to a dedicated Foul Play Review Officer. . [FPRO] located inside the Bunker and the player leaves the field of play for 10 minutes.
The FPRO then has up to eight minutes to review the incident using all available technology and imagery, before communicating the decision to the in-game refereeing team, so that the referee can either issue a yellow card. to the player (meaning the player returns following their 10 minute foul) or a red card (meaning the player stays out of the field permanently and is not substituted).
Farrell is the third top player to face the possibility of a suspension that would have kicked him out of all or part of the World Cup, only to be exonerated or given a surprisingly short ban.
Johnny Sexon was handed a three-match ban last month after admitting misconduct and a disciplinary committee found his behavior ‘confrontal and aggressive towards and disrespectful’ towards match officials after Leinster’s Champions Cup final defeat against La Rochelle at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin in May. This means he misses Ireland’s World Cup warm-up matches but is available for the tournament opener against Romania on September 9.
Meanwhile, Scotland prop Zander Fagerson was sent off for the second time in two years for a dangerous ruck clear-out against France two weekends ago, and was suspended for three matches reduced to two if he completes an “intervention program of coaches”. That’s two games short of the suspension he received after being sent off against Wales in February 2021.
World Rugby and many fans will be delighted that these stars have the chance to compete on rugby’s biggest stage.
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